As a lawyer, you are obliged to report unusual transactions to FIU-the Netherlands. This is provided for in the Money Laundering and Terrorist Financing (Prevention) Act (Wwft). You are required to report both completed transactions and transactions that have not yet been completed (intended transactions). This way you contribute to the fight against money laundering, predicate offences and terrorist financing.
a. the purchase and sale of registered property;
b. the management of money, securities, coins, banknotes, precious metals, precious stones or other assets;
c. the establishment or management of companies, legal persons, or similar bodies as defined in Section 2, subsection 1, part b, of the State Taxes Act (Algemene wet inzake rijksbelastingen);
d. the purchase, sale or takeover of a company, in its entirety or in part, insofar as a person who did not formerly qualify as ultimate beneficial owner of that company before the transaction becomes the ultimate beneficial owner of that company;
e. fiscal activities similar to the activities of the professional groups described under 23°;
f. establishing a right of mortgage on a registered property;
Any natural person, legal person, or company that, as a lawyer, civil-law notary, or assigned civil-law notary, or in the execution of a similar legal profession or similar activities, acts on behalf of or at the expense of a client in any financial transaction or real-estate transaction.*
When do I report a transaction?
You are required by law to be alert to the transactions and actions of your customers, and to report unusual transactions. As a lawyer, you know what is usual in your sector. You are therefore best positioned to assess whether a transaction is unusual and may be related to money laundering, predicate offences or terrorist financing. That underlines the importance of your professional judgment.
There are transactions that you should always report, regardless of the circumstances. These are transactions that meet the objective indicators. An overview of all the indicators that help you to assess transactions is given below. In addition, the general guidelines of the Ministry of Finance and the Ministry of Justice and Security and the guidelines of the Netherlands Bar Association provide pointers on complying with the law. The Netherlands Bar Association is your supervisor and monitors your compliance with your obligations under the Wwft.
What indicators help me to assess transactions?
There are 3 indicators that may apply to lawyers. They will help you determine whether you should file a report with FIU-the Netherlands. You must always report transactions that meet the objective indicator. For the subjective indicator, it is particularly important that you assess whether a transaction is unusual.
The literal description of the indicators in the Wwft Implementing Decree is given below. Use the codes in front of the indicators when reporting an unusual transaction. If your report is based on a subjective indicator, it is important to include a detailed description of the transaction and explain why you suspect money laundering or terrorist financing.
Objective01 – "It stands to reason that transactions reported to the police or Public Prosecution Service in connection with money laundering or terrorist financing should also be reported to the Financial Intelligence Unit; after all, there is a presumption that these transactions may be related to money laundering or terrorist financing."
Objective07 - "A transaction for an amount of €10,000 or more, paid to or through the institution in cash, bearer cheques, a prepaid payment instrument (prepaid card) or similar means of payment."
Do you believe that a completed or intended transaction meets one or more of these indicators? If so, you are legally obliged to report it to us. Reports based on the subjective indicator may concern customers who refuse to identify themselves, who have an unclear business address, or who have foreign bank accounts.
Of course, there are many more types of unusual situations. More information about this is given in the practical examples for lawyers. The examples will give you an idea of what to consider. They help you to better recognize unusual transactions and decide whether you should file a report.
What happens to an unusual transaction?
An institution that has reported an unusual transaction receives an automatic message, i.e. an acknowledgement of receipt. This is important in connection with indemnification. We will investigate this unusual transaction. If we declare the transaction suspicious after investigating it, it is made available to investigative, intelligence and security services. They conduct a further investigation based on their own priorities.